Blessing is a beautiful word with many layers. Let’s look at a few Biblical examples to help us understand better what blessing is.
The first blessing in the Bible
The first time humans are blessed is recorded in Genesis 1:27-28, right after God made men. “So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. God blessed them and said to them: be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” You see here that blessing is an expression of God’s favour, and about His intention to bring about His good purposes for people. There are also strong undertones of happiness, health and prosperity.
To obey is to be blessed
You see this in another famous passage about blessing, Deuteronomy 28. Here God gives the nation of Israel a choice. If they obey Him, they will experience all kinds of blessings in their daily life. Read for example verses 3-6. “You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country. The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks. Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed. You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.” However, disobedience would lead to a curse on everything, the opposite of blessing. This shows what God’s intention was for His people. He wanted them to enjoy every good thing. Sin made this impossible. His people chose to go against their God, and misery followed.
Jesus talks about a spiritual blessing
In the New testament, we see that the spiritual side of blessing becomes more prominent. In Matthew 5, Jesus talks about those that are mourning, that are persecuted and suffering injustice, and He calls them blessed. Because God will compensate them richly for their misery. He also speaks about the pure of heart, the peace makers, the meek and the poor in Spirit. They will enjoy the special privileges of a close relationship with God and an inheritance in His kingdom.
Being blessed by God is everlasting
And these are blessings that, unlike material blessings, are lasting beyond life on earth and not dependent on our circumstances. Paul writes about all these spiritual blessings in Ephesians 1. How God chose us from the beginning, that we were adopted into the family of God, that we received forgiveness of sins, and so on.
Blessing in church
When God blesses us, it means that He looks on us in love and favour, works out his good purposes for us, sustains us and showers us with undeserved spiritual privileges. This blessing is pronounced on us through the Bible, and through the blessing spoken over us when we are at church, using the blessing that Aaron gave to Israel (Numbers 6:24-26), or that Paul used at the end of his letter (2 Corinthians 13:14).
Being blessed by blessing others
We can also bless each other. We are even told to bless our enemies. The blessing we give flows from the spiritual authority we have as believers to act as priests in this world. Of course, we cannot force God to do something in the life of somebody. But when we bless others, we do four things:
- We remind them of God’s love and grace
- We set our hearts to desire what is good for that person, be it a friend or enemy
- A blessing spoken is a prayer that God will act on behalf of this person
- We commit ourselves to do what is good for this person
Showing God’s blessing to others
Often, we are the channel through which God’s blessing comes to others. Consider Romans 12:14 and Romans 12:20: “Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse […] when your enemy is hungry, feed him, if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.” So, when you bless somebody, let it not be words alone. Pray for or with this person. Support them in areas of need. Share fellowship, time and food. Protect them. In this way, the spiritual blessings God gives will overflow into the daily lives of people, so they can taste and see that God is good to them.